New York’s Uganda House Gets Mural on Youth Employment by ILO
As part of its 100th anniversary, the International Labour Organization (ILO) recently painted a mural at Uganda House in New York in recognition of efforts by the government to solve youth unemployment.
According to the latest available and most reliable official statistics, Uganda’s national unemployment rate is 9.2%. The unemployment rate for youth aged 18 – 30 is 13.3%. These statistics come from the UBOS Uganda National Household Survey 2016/17, which is based on a sample size of 15,672 households. With an average household size of 4.7 persons, the total sample covers 73,658 people.
Unemployment, as defined by ILO, is increasingly seen as inadequate to characterize low-income countries’ labor markets… Youth unemployment does not provide a full and adequate description of the difficulties youth face in the labor market. In fact, in countries with widespread poverty, looking at the unemployment rate may be misleading because most youth cannot afford to be unemployed. The difficulties in the labor market may be better reflected by measures of quality of employment or measures of underemployment.
Uganda House Mural in New York
The painted mural at Uganda House depicts a young woman draped in a headscarf in Uganda flag colors reaching up to clutch and clasp her dreams, and turn them into reality.
The mural, part of the five painted around New York, specifically honors the Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP) for its unique approach in promoting youth entrepreneurship while contributing to the reduction of youth unemployment.
Uganda House, where the Embassy is located is a tower that every Ugandan in the diaspora takes pride in. It symbolizes the Pearl of Africa and stands in close proximity to the United Nations Headquarters or secretariat and therefore is visible to the UN guests.
While in New York to attend the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in March this year, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development Pius Bigirimana was interviewed by ILO officials for an in-depth understanding of YLP and its impact on youth employment.
The information went into creating a final imagery for the mural.
Bigirimana enumerated the challenges and pessimism that surrounded the start of YLP that he said now directly benefits 241,799 youth, of which 46% are female.
So far, the programme initiated by Bigirimana following his posting to the Gender Ministry in June 2013, has funded 20,159 youth projects. Up to Shs9,232 billion has been revolved to finance another youth 1,090 projects.
Uganda has one of the highest youth populations in the world as well as youth unemployment levels, which calls for innovative ways of tackling the problem, hence the invaluable importance of YLP.
According to Aisa Ismail, an official at the Uganda Mission in New York, ILO will soon put a plaque below the mural with an approach through, which will have an automated playback of Bigirimana’s commentary on youth in Uganda.
Ismail further reported that the response from the public has been enthralling with people stopping to take pictures and just admire the painting.
All the five murals were inaugurated on 9th April 2019 and for one on the Ugandan Mission, the ceremony was presided over by Ambassador/Permanent Representative Adonia Ayebare and the Director General of ILO Guy Ryder. The mural was pained by Cenz.